Americans are anxious and uncomfortable right now. It’s boiling over into more heated discussions on social media, and violent confrontations in the streets. Plus, it’s an election year, when tensions always simmer. Even the hallowed halls of Congress aren’t immune from the breakdown in decorum.
The public was stunned to learn last week that Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) a profane slur.
(It rhymes with “trucking hitch.”) Yoho apologized to AOC on the House floor Wednesday for the harsh confrontation:
I rise today to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.
He dubiously claimed the foul utterance, overheard by a reporter for The Hill, wasn’t directed at her. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rejected his apology in a House speech Thursday, for “refusing responsibility.” She also took a moment to blast a culture she says is misogynistic :
I have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in New York City. This is not new. And that is the problem.
On “Good Morning America,” George Stephanopoulos called AOC’s speech “a remarkable showdown in the halls of Congress.” Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe hailed it on Twitter as “a comeback for the ages from AOC.”
Ocasio-Cortez was singing quite a different tune last year when a close member of her caucus used obscene language to describe President Donald Trump.
Last year, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) hurled some salty words of her own:
We’re going to go in there– we’re going to impeach the [expletive that rhymes with “druther chucker”]!
The congresswoman’s improper choice of words drew a swift rebuke from Republicans. Senior Democrats were also quick to correct Tlaib’s impropriety . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not among them.
On Twitter, AOC told Tlaib, “I got your back.” She went on to downplay cursing as if it’s no big deal. She accused Republicans of “scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar.” The hyperventilating GOP, in her view, was making much ado about nothing.
Now that another House colleague has leveled similar language at her, AOC has taken to the fainting couch over the kind of rhetoric she downplayed last year. By her standards, that’s Democratic hypocrisy at its finest.
At least Yoho made an apology to Ocasio-Cortez for being disrespectful. He understandably tried to save face by claiming he wasn’t talking about AOC when he swore. He would have shown some real character by owning what he did.
By contrast, Rep. Tlaib refused to offer any apology for her words last year. In a televised statement that doesn’t help her side out much amid the Yoho affair, Tlaib said, “Cursing shouldn’t be a distraction.”